Gustavus Alumna Making Headlines for Mars Landing

Posted on August 7th, 2012 by

Heidi Manning will be analyzing data collected by the Mars rover Curiosity (Photo by Carrie Snyder, The Forum).

If you have paid attention to the national news during the past week, you know that NASA successfully landed the space rover Curiosity on the planet Mars. What you might not know is that a Gustavus alumna has been and will continue to be involved in the mission.

Heidi (Kennedy) Manning received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the College in 1990 and now teaches physics at Concordia College in Moorhead. Beginning in 2006, Manning helped to develop and test Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which is designed to address the present and past habitability of Mars by exploring molecular and elemental chemistry relevant to life.

Manning is currently on sabbatical from her faculty position at Concordia so that she can travel to the Goddard Space Flight Center for two weeks at a time every two months to work with other scientists to analyze the data that the SAM collects.

Several media outlets in Minnesota have covered Manning’s role in the NASA project. You can read stories from the Star TribuneMinnesota Public RadioKARE-11KSTP, and the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead by clicking on the appropriate links.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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